Thursday, May 26, 2016

Tomorrow! Tomorrow! I love ya Tomorrow!

Yes, tomorrow! The sun will come out tomorrow!

That's when Netflix starts streaming the new Adam Sandler film THE DO OVER. Yay!

Originally planned to go directly to DVD, this 2nd of 4 films for Netflix will be released for streaming to subscribers.

The "red band" final trailer is out now but does NOT include my short funny scene with the "Hospital Screamer".

The first short "teaser" trailer did verify the scene made it through the cutting room and into the finished film.

I have enjoyed watching my brief appearance as the startled "husband" of the screaming "wife," as we see a badly injured man stumble toward the Savannah hospital.

 Despite my fantastic dramatic action and look, stage presence, and stance, I am NOT credited.

Go figure?

Sheila Lynn Cochran is quite an actress and her VERY vocal scream catapulted her to a featured credit. I am chopped liver, but very happy for Sheila and her brief comedic role in her film career.

Tomorrow, I won't be on the "Silver Screen" but my 60-inch tv set presents a crisp, large image.

I'll be making some popcorn.

(Click on the images and links for more details.)

Pretty obvious this is a "first" for me as I putter around as an extra or background artist in locally-produced tv shows like HBO's Vice Principals , Youtube's We Love You and CBS's The Inspectors.

Too bad I never tried out for Army Wives during its 7-year run here.

Maybe I'll look into working behind T-Rav and Southern Charm?

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Sunday, May 22, 2016

These little cars "bug" me....

My tiny collection of small model VWs started with the real deal. 

We actually pushed it off the showroom floor and it had only 8 miles on the odometer. This was my very first new car!

The salesman coached me as we drove around the block a few times to acquaint me with its manual stick shifting and, then, I drove it home to Burbank and parked it proudly in my driveway.
Did I mention it was a bright orange color and I had bought it on Halloween?

My clever daughter Amy suggested I leave a light burning inside the Beetle that night as the trick-or-treaters passed by...snickering.

The 1973-1975 Super VWs introduced the distinctive curved windshield. Regular Volkswagons continued to be manufactured during this time.

It was a fun car that I drove for well over 100,000 miles and eventually gave to my son.

Years later, I saw a most unusual small model of a VW that, apparently had been made into a martini glass. 

It did not have the Super Bug curved windshield but it whetted my appetite to find others.

Today there are 32 VWs displayed on a large table in my media room.

I would stop in shops as I traveled to seek out ones I didn't already have. Pure luck, I never bought a duplicate. 

I also never found one to match the color of my first real VW. 

Oh, wait a minute, as I was dusting these just now, I saw the elusive color on the "Space Flight" tiny version right in front!

Orange you glad I dust ever so often?

(Click on the photos and links for more details.)

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Saturday, May 21, 2016

STYX and STONES...two bands I've seen this year

 Had a delightful "flashback" to the 1970s and 80s last night.

Went to see STYX at the Volvo Car Stadium and it was a good memory-flogger of my graduating from college back in 1968.

Man...that was a long time ago... as they acknowledged. Often.

We were warned there was a chance of rain and this out of doors (tennis courts) does not allow you to bring in umbrellas.

No worry, I found some bright-colored rain ponchos and was all set to stay dry if the heavens opened.

The only "weather" we had was a fog bank suddenly rolling in and carpeting the stage. That happened several times.

The opener was Don Felder, a 21-year veteran with The Eagles, and his talented band.

They reprised many hits from his "Hotel California" days as daylight faded to dark.

The moon was visible behind the clouds but no rain fell.

Obviously, it was an older crowd but many stood for most of the performance.

I sat down ever so often but jumped up - well, stood - when a song started that I remembered from so long ago.

 One such song, from 1975, was "Light Up."

Well, OK, maybe I didn't remember the actual lyrics but the crowd reaction was really cool.

We were reminded that "back in the day," Zippo lighters were to be flicked on and held aloft.

I saw only a few flickering flames but "everybody" had a Smartphone!

And Tommy Shaw was his energetic self, bounding around the stage and up and down the stairs to the elevated platform.

At one point he stood and played next to James "J.Y." Young and quipped, "I'm not short..he's tall."

And that rotating metal piano!

Lawrence Gowan owned it, played it, spun it and was having a grand time.

I had looked away and was nudged to see that now Gowan was standing on it, his right arm raised.

It spun so easily, I am sure there was a locking mechanism that held it steady for his climb.

Throughout the show, the piano stool appeared and then quickly disappeared on cue.

Part of the band's clever choreography.

Let's take a closer look at how the raised backdrop was used.

Don't recall a recent outdoor concert that offered several levels.

"A Night With Janis Joplin," featured different heights for dancers and singers at the Gaillard last month.

But that was an indoor set. Setting up outdoors presents its own problems. The huge STYX backdrop that was hoisted into place apparently never had its lights turned on, so it was a murky background until spotlights happened to stream across it.

Hidden most of the night by his large drum set, the man who kept the beat, talented Todd Sucherman, finally came out front for his bows at the end.

James Young mentioned he had noticed a sign Volvo Car Open, referring to the recently sponsored tennis tournament.

He then touted Volvo as a safe car but reminded us all that the owner should always lock it.

(Click on the photos and links for more details.)

As always, I thank you for reading my blog and urge you to continue to support live music.

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Saturday, May 14, 2016

Orange is the new Yellow....

We are coming into the vacation and travel season. Try not to have your vacant home become a "target of opportunity" to a burglar.

My newspaper here in Charleston not only will "hold" my papers while I am on vacation, it offers to provide them to schools as part of the national "Newspapers in Education," program, NIE.

(Locally, it appears to be called MIE,  Media in Education. Seems more in tune with the times.)

But, I want to get a stack of bundled papers delivered after my return. Old news, for sure, but this is a way I keep up with my favorite comics.

Same with the rubber band-bound pile of junk mail my postman brings the afternoon after I am back home.

Well aware of not signaling my departure for vacation, I do not blog about such trips until I am safely home and reading my mail and going through a high stack of newspapers.

Of main concern, of course, is NOT to have papers strewn in the yard, on the steps and piled on my porch while I am away. 

My travel checklist includes arranging that such telltale signs of an empty house are not present.

I returned from 18 days overseas last year - at night - and two thick bags o' papers were indeed on my front porch the next morning. As I hefted them up, I saw there was a bright orange plastic bag hanging on my front gate, next to the empty mailbox.

I shuffled down the steps and saw hanging there was a thick copy of the new Yellow Pages phone directory.

 I can assume only the worst, that it was hung there the very day I was flying to Europe and acted as a homing beacon to every potential home burglar in the tri-county area. 

Good news: there were no signs of attempted break-ins.

Frankly, I didn't know YP books were still being printed now that the internet, "Angie's List" and other info sources are right at hand and more up-to-date than any printed item.

Even if you've done all the obvious safeguards, be prepared for the unexpected.

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Tuesday, May 10, 2016

Um, that looks odd...

Watching a talented one-man band is fun.

Sitting and relaxing on a concrete floor is a sign you're a real fan of Mechanical River.

He opened Mother's Day night at the Pour House for Deslondes.

Deslondes had five band members and thanked all the moms for letting us come out that Sunday night.

The men's room at the Pour House used to look like this.

I think even a Vegan would be a little disturbed going into this room.

The "eyes" have it.

But, it was repainted without creatures....last time I checked.

Musicians make up their own mannerisms, styles and methods of  making popular sounds.

This band member appeared to be just holding two instruments, but, then he started playing.

Both saxes. At the same time.

A wannabe one-man band? He's working on it.

I am not a member of a band but I do see unusual things happen in bars.

Here, I joked that there should be a free beer for me on my birthday.

I was handed the Viking helmet and was told "Wear this while you drink your free beer. Happy birthday."

Well, you see I wore the hat.

And the free beer was great.

This was at Brittlebank Park on the banks of the Ashley river.

Sipping beer on a summer day.

Suddenly,  I saw this fellow soaring aloft atop what appeared to be a spewing firehose.

Learned later you could rent time to do that.

Or, just continue drinking beer.

Years ago, in San Diego, I saw a good bit of "Truth In Ads."

He stood by the curb with his sign.

I saw drivers pull over, amused, and hand him money.

I gave him a dollar myself.

This "glass" caught my eye and I had to take a closer look.

A good example of "recycling" I decided.

I have heard people joke - when they finished a beer quickly - that the bottle had a hole in the bottom.

This one actually did.

His hand covered how the base for the glass had been attached. I need to stop by again.

I think you have to be overseas to have a beer with your Happy Meal beneath the arches at Mickey D's.

I WAS in Spain last year when I saw beer was on the menu and that many patrons were sipping brews.

When in Rome, er, Spain, do as they do.

Beer makes the fries seem to taste even better!

Saw this type of vehicle - propelled by pedaling loud, singing beer drinkers - in several cities in various countries.

The languages were different but the intent was to literally "drink and drive" as the party became a moveable feast at a leisurely pace. PROST!

Fuzzy dice are no longer restricted to hanging from rear view mirrors.

The oversized, colorful dice can adorn a drum set.

I have seen teddy bears, small big-bellied Buddhas and tiny baby dolls perched on instruments on at least half a dozen bands.

Significance? I have no idea.

Don't recall the name of this player but his gimmick was using a megaphone.

Wonder what the soundman had to say about this?

He would play, then sing into the megaphone.

Yes, he tried to do both at the same time. Briefly.

I post these "different," - and even surreal shots - because they have one thing in common.

All involve beer.

(Click on the photos and links for more detail and information.)

I support live music...and a few breweries too.

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Thursday, May 05, 2016

You Can Call Me Al...or Paul

Paul Simon in concert in Atlanta.

In the Fabulous Fox theater.

Oh man, does it get any better than this?

Three, yes three, encores. The crowd of 4,678 people did not want to leave and we applauded and yelled and he kept coming back onstage.

If he had played ALL of his classic hits, we'd all still be standing there.

50 Ways To Leave Your Lover started us off.

I was standing in a long line for a beer when the first notes started and - whoosh - I was next to get my beer.

I vaguely recall going to the Fox for a movie as a teenager and seeing the mighty Wurlitzer rise up from the pit.

Funny I did not remember the Moorish look of the huge theater, so Tuesday in Atlanta was almost like my first time at the Fox.

Our seats were Row G on the main floor but I asked permission to wander up to the balcony to take a peek.

No problem, and the pleasant usher even suggested I go all the way to the far side to get the best effect. With my camera in hand.

Beautiful. Awesome. And the softest most comfortable seats ever, to sink down and relax.

The lighting was superb, the sound spot on and the twinkling stars overhead in the blue sky added to the ambiance.

Meanwhile, onstage, Paul and his 9-person band were hammering out hit after hit.

Sounds of Silence, The Boxer, Still Crazy After All These Years, etc., etc.

Kodachrome, Me & Julio Down By The Schoolyard, You Can Call Me Al, etc., etc.

Graceland, Late In The Evening, Slip, Slidin' Away, and Diamonds on the Soles of Her Shoes.

This evening was worth the 5-hour drive and a construction traffic tie-up on I-20.

The blocked lane was expertly handled and the delay was minor. 

Impressive looking but not a big deal. And, unlike later that evening back in Charleston, we did not even have any rain.

And that band! They are a tight group and have played together since forever. 

Don't know when the man in the long gown from Cameroon joined, but he played his solo well on Under African Skies.

I have a few more pictures that I like so will add them as space permits.

Five years ago, drove to Gwinnett to see Simon perform there in the suburbs.

The bonus this time of being downtown (two stops on MARTA) at the Fox, made it an extra special evening.

Besides, Atlanta is known for fine dining and entertainment.

(Click on the photos and the links for more details and information.)

Even the 5-hour drive back home was smooth, sunny and not a hint of rain.

With Paul Simon well-represented on the recorded music tracks.

Oh, Mr. Robinson was NOT included in the show but we had it on the digital player though.

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Monday, May 02, 2016

Zoot Suit With A Reet Pleat....

 Saw a long-time favorite stand-up comic - and a regular on NPR - the other night at the intimate and very cozy Charleston Music Hall.

I remembered her fondly and even recalled some of her favorite bits about her cats.

Paula Poundstone, 56,  never once mentioned her snazzy red Zoot suit during her 2.5-hour show.

Nor did she speak any 1940s slang.

I was aware that she REALLY liked to interact with members of the audience so I was a bit secretive with my camera.

A few years ago, I was called out by Wanda Sykes.

I was in the front row and my camera bothered her enough that she stopped her act and chided me. A lot!

Ms. Poundstone did indeed chat and engage with people in the first row and responded to those elsewhere who called out comments. There was a lively exchange with a gentleman in the balcony or, as Paula called it, up in the spice rack.

Earlier in the week, I went to the Coliseum to see Amy Schumer in her comedy return to Charleston.

She said she had performed here about 10 years ago in Spoleto and some comedy festivals.

There were many, many signs that said photos were not only not allowed, they were forbidden with dire consequences.

 If you were caught, you would be expelled from the show - with no refund.

Also, there was to be no talking or heckling of the star of the Trainwreck movie and Comedy Central's Inside Amy Schumer.

One fearless loud lady shouted she wanted to do a selfie with her.

Schumer's response was "There are 9,000 people here tonight, so I don't plan to do a photo with you."

I did not want to get thrown out so I waited until the audience stood at the end of the show and quickly snapped three pictures. What? Make me leave now? Oh, OK.

Oddly enough, a few days later while in Greenville for a show that evening, a man with his family demanded that she pose for a picture. 

She declined. He insisted. He argued that she HAD to because this is America and we pay you. Amy agreed that it was legal to take her picture but she had requested he not do it.

She then took HIS picture and posted it online, told the story of him accosting her and said he was the reason she will not pose for pictures with her fans. "Blame this dude," she added.

Thank you, Charleston!

(Click on the photos and links for details.)

I support live music...and great comedy!

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Thursday, April 28, 2016

Got me some Alabama Shakes

Earlier, I mentioned a 3-in-one night of music.

A Trifecta, featuring Brittany Howard's raging vocals.

I had seen her band
 Alabama Shakes several times before but this was at the newly-named Volvo Car Center, outdoors, under the stars on a balmy Spring night.

The band played well and Brittany's vocals were full-throttle as she played her green guitar.

And, there has to be high praise for the lighting.

Dramatic, flashy, riveting and perfect for each song.

Moods were established and it was magical.

I had the luxury of being comfortably seated on the side, several rows above the heads of those standing on the clay tennis court.

Great sight lines as my camera captured the terrific light changes.

I was a bit surprised to see so many people were standing at their seats? Huh?

They blocked the view of others while they stood, many texting on their phones, the whole time.

Perhaps they should have opted to be with the other fans standing down on the court.

I remained seated, relaxing and enjoying this musical special evening, sipping a beer.

This was the same setting where I saw Bob Dylan perform and his stage was mainly back-lighted.

It was difficult to see his face, in shadow, under his trademark wide-brim hat.

Oops. My bad.

I did not jot down the name of the band that opened.

Dylan LeBlanc was scheduled but this was a different band.

They started playing as the sun was going down so I decided to try shooting some black & white images.

(Click on the photos and links for more details and info.)

Stay alert for the "Shakes" and make sure you catch them the next time they are in town.

Thanks. Support live music!

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